U.S. Expands Airstrikes on Islamic State Targets in IraqTony Capaccio and Aziz Alwan
U.S. aircraft bombed Islamic State fighters near Baghdad in the latest expansion of an air campaign that began last month.
The strike to the southwest of Baghdad was the first carried out as “part of our expanded efforts” to hit Islamic State targets, the U.S. Central Command said in a statement. Previous attacks have focused on northern areas in support of Kurdish forces and besieged communities from Iraq’s Yezidi ethnic minority. The U.S. has launched a total of 162 airstrikes against Islamic State, according to Central Command.
The strike follows President Barack Obama’s vow in a Sept. 10 speech to “degrade and ultimately destroy” the Sunni militant organization that has seized large swaths of northern Iraq and parts of neighboring Syria. The U.S is assembling a coalition to take on the militants and plans to expand strikes to include Syria.
No Arab country is “immune” to the threat posed by Islamic State, Anwar Gargash, the United Arab Emirates’ minister of state for foreign affairs, said at a security conference in Riyadh. Saudi Arabia, Iraq and the U.A.E. were among 10 Arab states to pledge their support to the U.S.-led coalition this month.
U.S. legislators have also signaled they may endorse the military’s expanded mandate following Obama’s announcement.
The House majority leader Kevin McCarthy, a California Republican, said he anticipates bipartisan support for a measure granting Obama’s request to arm and equip Syrian rebels under an approach that lets skeptical lawmakers register their concerns.
Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff of California will today introduce a formal authorization of “all necessary and appropriate force” against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
(An earlier version of this story was corrected to fix quote by U.A.E. official.)